I don't really care about Linux. After about ten years of evolution it's a piece of software that still amounts to a novelty operating system for all but a sycophantic core of users with way too much time on their hands. For them Linux is less an alternative operating system and more a religion and way of life. The priest, prophet, and saint of this religion is a well coiffed Finnish man named Linus Torvalds. My biographical information on mister Torvalds begins and ends with the previous sentence, but what I do know much more about is Mr. Torvalds' fabulous face. I came by this information from a variety of sources, most notably among them a photograph of Torvalds that clearly demonstrates the impossible perfection of his hair and the apocalyptic greasiness of his face. Don't even get me started on his pallor or his bizarre overly white teeth that look like the kind of thing you would see in a wax statue of Carol Channing.
The more I stared at Mr. Torvalds' face the more I realized that it was not just a human face; it was a magical land of mystery and pleasure. Without sending out any invitations Mr. Torvalds' had constructed and opened a theme park on his face space. Immediately I realized that such a magnificent event could not go unnoticed and I endeavored to map out Mr. Torvalds' theme park. I packed my bags and caught a red eye with two connections in Atlanta and Dallas that landed somewhere in the gently waving sweep of Mr. Torvalds' hair. A shrinking machine might have also been involved somewhere along the way, I'm not really sure because I'd had about fifteen of those little airplane bottles of scotch.
I invite you to journey with me now across the fascinating landscape that is Linus Torvalds.
Vast map of the splendor also available. Thanks to Shmorky for help with the mapping.
The Hair of the Golden Empress
Our voyage begins in the hair of Linus Torvalds. The expanse of his hair has been turned greenish by the unearthly glow of cathode ray tubes running Linux and the thousands of gallons of strange perfumed oils that ooze from his scalp daily. As you make your way from the private landing strip near the flawless part in his hair you will approach the gates to Torvalds that pass beneath the first attraction; "The Hair of the Golden Empress". Imported from India, this finely woven tsunami of hair contains the spirit of Buddarheta Sippur, the divine Indian empress of the 4th century. Her spirit survives within the hair, subsisting on the energy she derives from the steady flow of oils, and her face can often be seen coalescing on the surface of the hair. Whenever you see the face of Buddarheta appear you should wait for her to begin to speak and then throw a coin into her mouth. If you succeed then she will grant you any wish. If you fail she will swallow you and you will be slowly dissolved in acid over a period of many days. I abstained from throwing any coins.
The Grease Mire
Linus Torvalds' body, as previously mentioned, secretes unusually large quantities of oil. Much of this oil collects in a swampy expanse on Torlvads' face known as the "Grease Mire". Popular with families, this swampy locale is a sort of history exhibit thanks to the large variety of skeletal dinosaurs, wooly mammoths, cars, buses, and even stray children that at one time became stuck in the viscous substance and died. Because the Grease Mire smells so much like a hotdog, this location is also very popular with fat people who can often be seen attempting to wade out into the Mire only to sink below its surface and never return. Probably the most impressive item currently stuck in the Grease Mire is a large rock that glows slightly and is said to have fallen from space. Watch out for the excretion geysers that occasionally erupt from beneath the Mire! Visitors are clearly warned to stay behind the fences to avoid being covered in an unexpected spray of pus. If you're one of the unlucky visitors that this happens to the good news is that you are automatically entered to compete in the daily cake walk.
Torvalds' Eyebrows of Ecstasy
The eyebrows of Linus Torvalds are renowned for their ability to grant pleasure to anyone who approaches them. To accommodate the steady flow of people curious about Torvalds' eyebrows they have been renamed the Eyebrows of Ecstasy and guests are allowed to walk through a glass tunnel that passes through both eyebrows. At the end of this tour visitors are treated to a guided exhibit in which they can place their hands or feet into a carefully monitored patch of the eyebrow. If the attendants of the Eyebrows of Ecstasy were not there to restrain guests many would jump head first into the pleasure-giving eyebrows and never be seen again. Their children would watch with a mixture of horror and jealousy as the questing oily fronds of the eyebrows would carry off their moaning parents. The gift shop also sells single strands of the Eyebrow of Ecstasy and, although they are very pricey, if tended to lovingly they will provide you with decades of enjoyment.
The Idea Nose
It's not widely known, but the source of some of Linus Torvalds' greatest ideas is his nose. Dubbed "The Idea Nose", this amazing structure has been transformed into an exhibit of Torvalds' genius even as it continues to function in a creative capacity. As the nose works to cogitate new and incredible ideas for Linus Torvalds guests will be treated to an incredible display of intellectual pyrotechnics. At the end of the tour of the working nose the visitors can watch a laser light show that covers some of Torvalds' most amazing inventions (set to the sounds of Led Zeppelin!) and they can view hands-on exhibits.
These exhibits include:
There are many more less popular exhibits such as Linus Torvalds' Scorpiboard (a keyboard made entirely from scorpion stings) and his much ballyhooed spoken word CD "Linus on Linus".
- The Linux Box: A 'virtual immersion experience' that allows users to find out what it's like to spend a day as a third-generation release of Linux.
- The Eightboard: A skateboard with eight wheels that Torvalds invented at the age of ten.
- Dr. Pharnaby's Soothing Tincture: A medicinal-smelling balm made from mint leaf and smashed cat heads. Released with the marketing line "Taste the healing Orient" even though it was strictly for external use.
- The Concentratotron: A game you can play that tests your concentration. You have to try to spell words given to you over a pair of headphones while a pair of super-strong mechanical arms tries to take your pants off. Torvalds was actually briefly jailed in Helsinki after a public demonstration of this device.
- LinOS/2: Look at printed code and a sometimes functioning demonstration of Linus Torvalds' abortive attempt in 1999 to combine IBM's failed operating system with his own.
- The Beard Bird: Marketed specifically for lonely Linux users with large unkempt beards, this small mechanical bird will nest inside their beard and emerge hourly to chirp out the time.
Dungeon of Mouth
Not everything is good in the world of Linus Torvalds and those things that are not are sent to the Dungeon of Mouth. Located behind Torvalds' right bicuspid, the foreboding entrance to the Dungeon of Mouth gives way to a spacious food court. There guests can enjoy various delicacies created by Torvalds' life-giving body while they watch the mad howling of those imprisoned inside. Among the stellar list of Torvalds' inmates are the three homunculi he gave birth to and nursed to adolescence from his supernumerary nipple, Helen Kircher who asked him to the prom and then just laughed at him as she got in the car with Tor Vilendi, Tor Vilendi who shall forever suffer within the Dungeon of Mouth, Torvalds' own mother who he insists be called The Betrayer, and a guy who looks sort of like Bill Gates. At noon every day a robotic likeness of Torvalds enters to feed the inmates; an event that always results in a feeding frenzy. Guests are then allowed to prod the genitals and faces of those imprisoned within the Dungeon of Mouth using a variety of hot irons and sharpened skewers.
Chamber of Love
The hot stop on Linus Torvalds for lovers to visit is definitely the Chamber of Love. This is where Linus stores all of the great loves of his life, occasionally pushing on them with his tongue like a canker sore. At present it is filled with various Finnish snacks, three types of anti-grease medication, well-worn centerfolds from the European edition of Playboy, and all twenty or so major Linux platform videogames. In the near future he hopes to place his wife or girlfriend in the Chamber of Love, hopefully replacing Natalie Portman who constantly screams to be let out and has three times had to be shot in the leg by the guards while trying to escape.
Sensei Torvalds' Ninja Academy
Most people probably don't know this, but in addition to being a greasy genius Linus Torvalds is also a master of a number of martial arts. In fact, Torvalds is so experienced that he has created his own martial art called Torv-Maga that relies on using the power of the mind and knowledge of Star Trek: TOS to defeat any opponent. Tovalds maintains an academy on his chin in which he teaches Torv-Maga to a variety of aspirants. Torvalds has personally trained his elite cadre of bodyguards called the Crimson Shirts, each of whom have memorized the entire script to every episode of the original Star Trek and even some of the forbidden Deep Space 9 episodes. With this black knowledge they can kill an opponent by simply looking at them and saying the first three words of any line from an episode. Guests are welcome to watch the sparring of the lower echelons being conducted by trainers but are not allowed to enter the inner shrines to Torvalds. If someone happens in to these areas they will be die painfully at the hands of a lightning quick "Dax, I don't think we should be doing this!"
Old Man Torvalds' Spooky Ghost House
You might have noticed that for an amusement park Linus Torvalds does not have very many rides. Well get ready to have the cronjobs scared out of you by Old Man Torvalds' Spooky Ghost House! These days most haunted houses are more of a joke than a trip of terror, but Linus has changed all that by populating his Spooky Ghost House entirely with things that frighten him. As you enter you will be confronted by IBM and Microsoft signing a corporate merger. That terror still fresh in your mind, the car will then turn right and you will pass through a gauntlet of attractive women who are staring at you and whispering quietly to their friends. Hang on, there's a steep drop ahead, straight into a breath taking simulation of the 1940 Winter War of Finland - something sure to chill the soul of every Finn. As the car lurches up another steep incline you will be forced to give a speech to a group of investors who mistakenly believe you work for Apple. Finally, the last terror is almost too horrifying too envision, but you will be taken through a Frito-Lay Cheeto factory circa 2025. Look on in dumbstruck revulsion as rice-cakes are made on the long defunct Cheeto factory lines. It's spooktacular!
And so I bid a fond farewell to Linus Torvalds' face. It was an amazing journey of discovery and I felt that I learned a lot about Linus and maybe even a little bit about myself in the process. Now if I can just convince him to open his face up to the general public we may all be able to share in the spectacle!
Attack of the Pink Cats
Hey folks, Taylor "Scoliosis" Bell checking in with a brand-new rom pit review! Today's game is known as Captain Silver to the two or three unfortunate people who have actually played it.
This enemy will never ever be able to kill you, despite his 15’2” height, stylish tie and a healthy dose of purple. This guy is three times as tall as your character, and he attacks by frantically hopping all over the place waving his stubby little arms around. Sounds like a challenging enemy, right? Well, he would be tough if it weren’t for two small details – there are invisible boundaries at each edge of the screen that he never crosses, and he has to touch you to hurt you. Once you figure this out, which even I was able to do in about 20 seconds, all you have to do is stand just outside his invisible boundary and whack him with your sword when he comes near you. There’s no way at all for him to hit you if you do this, and you can sit there happily whacking away while he stumbles around the stage cursing the name of the programmer who doomed him by giving him such shitty AI.
Sounds pretty kickass, doesn't it? Check that shit out before that shit checks you out!
Do you wish to know what computers will be doing in the year to come? With a sigh I shall exert the minimal effort it takes to reveal all. Feel free to print out these predictions and share them with your friends via fax.
Old mixed signals feeling a little stale? Try some new ones!
day 2: still working on the car
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